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Poisoning of white-tailed eagle condemned

The RSPB has condemned the illegal killing of a white-tailed eagle found poisoned on an estate in Tayside.

The eagle was discovered earlier this year in an isolated glen in Angus near the boundary of the Glenquiech and Glenogil estates and was reported to RSPB Scotland.

The police and RSPB investigators sent to retrieve the bird, also found 32 cubes of venison laced with three different pesticides and placed on fence posts. The body of a butchered mountain hare, also laced with poison was found nearby.

It was the largest single seizure of poisoned baits in Scotland for many years.

‘Everyone on Mull, where people do so much to help the eagles, has been appalled by this awful news’

The eagle was identified by its wing tags as ‘white G’, a male hatched on Mull in 2007. It had ingested a lethal mix of the pesticides carbofuran and bendiocarb. A dead buzzard, found close by, had also been poisoned.

David Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull Officer, said: ‘Everyone on Mull, where people do so much to help the eagles, has been appalled by this awful news. White G was hatched from a nest near the centre of the island and was watched by thousands of visitors in 2007.

‘It was also protected by the Mull Eagle Watch which is a Wild Scotland member, which is made up of local volunteers. It’s so sad to think that all their efforts in keeping that bird safe have now gone to waste.

‘I just hope that, terrible as it is, the death of this bird will not be in vain, and it will help to draw attention to what is still going on in some parts of the countryside. Crimes like this against our most iconic wildlife tarnish the image of Scotland at home and abroad, these dangerous and outdated practises must change.’

White-tailed eagles, which have been described as flying barn doors because of their eight-foot wingspan, were successfully re-introduced into Scotland on the island of Rum, and then in the North West Highlands in the 1970s. They have spread slowly along the west coast and islands with more than 40 pairs now successfully breeding.

Environment Minister Michael Russell added: “This is a despicable crime. The sea eagle is a magnificent bird of prey which has been brought back to Scotland to enhance our natural environment.

“Poisoning them is simply unacceptable and I would urge anyone with information to contact the police.”

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